The new international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta will open on May 16, 2012. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has some details about the “dry run” that took place to test the terminal:
More than 1,600 volunteers streamed into the new $1.4 billion complex bright and early for the dry run. Hundreds had signed up to participate within hours of the airport’s call for helpers in March.
Many were eager to get a sneak peek at the gleaming 1.2 million square-foot terminal and 12-gate concourse — and give some constructive criticism.
The airport gave each volunteer a trip itinerary and script, which they used to get to the new terminal off I-75, check in for a flight, get a fake boarding pass and check bags, pass through security, report to a gate and go through boarding.
Arriving test passengers went through Customs and immigration checks and claimed bags at the new terminal. They were also directed to look for restrooms, duty-free shops, concessions, the information desk, baggage office, taxi stand, shuttles or other amenities.
The terminal is almost four years in the making and comes with a $1.4 billion price tag. The 1.2 million square foot terminal and concourse will facilitate direct flights to 45 countries
I think the biggest benefit of the new international terminal will be the elimination of the need for arriving Atlanta-bound travelers to recheck bags upon arrival (and having to go through security after clearing Customs).
Still, it’s amazing the huge turnout this practice run had. One person interviewed in the story has been following the terminal for ten years and took a vacation day from work to participate.